Notes on Yesterday’s Phone Conference with Rev. Barber, “The Third Reconstruction: How a Moral Movement is Overcoming the Politics of Division and Fear”

The Reverend Dr. William J. Barber II is president of the North Carolina chapter of the NAACP, pastor at Greenleaf Christian Church in Goldsboro, North Carolina, and founder of Repairers of the Breach.
The Reverend Dr. William J. Barber II is president of the North Carolina chapter of the NAACP, pastor at Greenleaf Christian Church in Goldsboro, North Carolina, and founder of Repairers of the Breach.

Yesterday the call went out to clergy and lay leaders for a telephone gathering to discuss the U.S. presidential orders issued during the first week of the new administration, which I notice lately some are calling a “regime.” These orders are efforts to undermine voting rights, encourage racism and sexism, and to punish sanctuary cities.The concern is that if we don’t respond immediately to these threats, they will become the new normal.

The Rev. Dr. William Barber, president of the North Carolina NAACP and author of The Third Reconstruction, Catherine Orsborn of Shoulder to Shoulder, Standing with American Muslims: Upholding American Values and Valerie Kaur presented. Valerie is an award-winning filmmaker, civil rights lawyer, media commentator, Sikh activist and interfaith leader who uses storytelling much as we use poetry – for social change.

The emphasis of the discussion was:

  • solidarity,
  • the upholding of American ideals, and
  • rapid response.

The combination of noise on the line and my hearing made it difficult for me to track the entire conversation, but as best I could determine among the encouraged actions were:

  • Frequent phone calls to members of Congress. Numbers for the members of the House of Representatives are HERE. Numbers for the Senate members are HERE.
  • Exercise resistance in our own spheres. Use social media and take part in local resistance efforts.

Rev. Barber said this is a historic moment but not a new moment in terms of extremism and hate and not the worst moment.

“In the great stream of injustice down through the ages, this is not the worst thing we have suffered. To say so is to dishonor those whose lives were dishonored in holocausts, lynchings and Jim Crow [and other human abuses].” 

Nonviolent civil disobedience is encouraged. Rev. Barber advises self-purification, prayer, and fasting to prepare for moral resistance, for nonviolent direct action against immoral public policy agenda at the state and federal levels. Suggestions for these processes are to be found at Repairers of the Breach.

“Now is not a time to wait and see. Now is a time for action.”

Here is a video in which Rev. Barber gives us some background on the Third Reconstruction and its place in history. It’s worth your time. (if you are reading this via an email subscription you will have to link through to the site to view the video) 


The photograph of Rev. Barber and the description below it are from his Amazon page.

51qqbcpwhul-_sx332_bo1204203200_The Third Reconstruction: How a Moral Movement is Overcoming the Politics of Division and Fear by the Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II is this week’s recommended read.  If you plan to purchase this book and use the link here it will help to support this site.
Thank you!

BREAKING NEWS ON THE JUSTICE FRONT: Fellow Americans, please join this national phone call today with Rev. Barber to address recent executive orders

800px-william_barber_at_moral_mondays_rallyJOIN REV. WILLIAM BARBER TODAY at 4 p.m. Eastern Time for immediate response to address the Executive Orders this week that threaten immigrants, refugees, and Muslims, along with new efforts to undermine voting rights and punish sanctuary cities must be met with a powerful and rapid response. TODAY, please join Rev. William Barber and Catherine Orsborn, and other faith leaders at 4 pm ET/1 pm PT for a national call on what we can all do to resist and move forward.

51qqbcpwhul-_sx332_bo1204203200_Call in to (319) 527-2731 Access Code: 150728.
In the meantime, we put together this Rapid Response Guide for People of Faith & Moral Conscience with resources from partners on how to prepare for moral resistance, call your representatives, post on social media, and more. Share it. We will continue to update this guide as events unfold.
In #MoralResistance and #RevolutionaryLove. (Go to those links on Facebook. They’re public so you don’t need to be on Facebook to access them.)

Photo of Rev. Barber leading a Moral Monday gather courtesy of twbuckner under CC BY SA 2.0 License

RESIST: SIGNS OF THE TIMES … thoughts and resources


BRAVO! to the people, the church groups, the civic groups, the students and the schools, the poets, the musicians and the artists who bare witness to the times, the historians who remind us of our roots and their lessons, the lawyers who clarify the law and fight for justice, and journalists who investigate and speak out. Bravo! to the women who are the stewards of heart for all their joyousness, their spirited defiance and their hope and faith. Bravo! to the man at the Women’s March on Washington who carried a sign saying, “I think it’s time that white men stopped talking and started listening.”

THIS WEEKEND I was proud that in the midst of fear and contention the majority of protesters were peaceful and respectful.

OFF THE CUFF/STRAY THOUGHT Perhaps it would be wise to replace “Love” with “Respect,” which is really what would be more fitting in this context and perhaps serve as a better reminder of honorable behavior and speech.

The work has just begun. Here are some resources as we move on:

  • Know Your Rights: Demonstration and Protest, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
  • Indivisible: A Practical Guide for Resisting the Trump Agenda, Former congressional staffers reveal best practices for making Congress listen. There’s a lot to ponder – I’ve reread it a few times over the past two weeks – but it’s an excellent and enlightening guide and worth the time and effort.
  • Inequity Media, videos that frame the issues and offer informed and measured tips for fighting the good fight, Robert Reich
  • American Civil Liberties Union, is taking legal action regarding disclosure of Trump’s tax returns and investigation into possible conflicts of interest et al. There’s an interesting feature –  “Waking Up in Trump’s America” – that details the fears of the most vulnerable among us and also a 7-Point Plan of Action to Take on the Trump Administration.
  • The Nation, the most widely read weekly journal of progressive political and cultural news, opinion and analyses.
  • 100,000 Poets for Change (100TPC), which has evolved to include peacemakers for change, musicians for change … drummers and mimes and so on …  under its banner. This is a global peace initiative started in 2011. It has grown to include over 500 events in countries around the world on the fourth Saturday of September each year. Other events are held on other occasions. To find events in your area or to start one go to the site.
  • 100TPC Global Action Calendar is a place for artists of every ilk to place announcements of upcoming events.
  • The BeZine is a space where we hope you’ll delight in learning how much you have in common with “other” peoples. We hope that your visits will help you to love (respect) not fear. We acknowledge that there are enormous theological differences and historical resentments that carve wedges among and within the traditions and ethnic or national groups, but we believe that ultimately self-preservation, common sense, and human solidarity will empower connections and collaboration and overcome division and disorder. The zine is published monthly, generally on the fifteenth. The BeZine sponsores a virtual 100TPC event every year.  This year it will be on September 30. Mark your calendar. The theme for the January issue was “Resist.”
 More details Rev. Dr. William Barber speaking at a Moral Monday rally
More details
Rev. Dr. William Barber speaking at a Moral Monday rally

And the last and perhaps most important: REQUIRED READING. The Third Reconstruction: How a Moral Movement Is Overcoming the Politics of Division and Fear by The Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II

In April 2013, Rev. Barber began leading regular “Moral Mondays” civil-rights protests in North Carolina’s state capital, Raleigh. He is credited with bringing together a fusion movement to protest restrictions on voting and to reform state govenement. He is said to be responsible for shepharding in a new era of progressive politics.

51qqbcpwhul-_sx332_bo1204203200_The Third Reconstruction is a memoir about how Rev. Barber and his diverse allies (hence the “fusion”) came together to build a coalition. He shares his analysis of race-based inequality along with hopeful message for our United States as it continues to work toward the healing of entrenched racial and economic injustice. Ultimately, The Third Reconstruction is a blueprint for a movement, for  building coalitions and an inspiring call to action from the “twenty-first century’s most effective grassroots organizer.”

© 2017, words, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved; © 2017, heading photo and signs pictured courtesy of Rev. Stephanie Etzbach-Dale of Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Redwood City, All rights reserved; Rev. Barber photo courtesy of twbuckner under CC BY-SA 2.0 license